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As We Are Always Speaking Of Them And Using Their Names On Every Occasion Plotinus, Enn. III.7 [45]: Language, Experience And The Philosophy Of Time In Neoplatonism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the roles of scholars in the treatment of time by Plotinus and other Neoplatonists. It argues that in Plotinus we should distinguish between two types of common notions, one based on our perception of the phenomena in the physical world, and the other on intuitions of metaphysical reality. To this difference in origin corresponds a difference in epistemological status and hence a difference in the role that these two types of notions play in Plotinus argumentative strategies. The chapter now focuses on two Neoplatonic philosophers, Proclus and Augustine. They make the same distinction in their discussions of time. In fact, this distinction underlies Augustines famous, yet enigmatic remark that he knows perfectly well what time is, provided that no one asks him. Since Neoplatonists hold that the study of nature is primarily a study of the metaphysical causes of the phenomena, their heuristic value is thus minimal.

Keywords: metaphysical principles; Neoplatonic philosophers; Neoplatonists; philosophy of time; Plotinus

10.1163/ej.9789004173804.i-322.24
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004173804.i-322.24
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